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Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a veteran who left the military after admitting to abusing an Iraqi policeman, is now slamming the GOP for exploiting the troops in the government shutdown fight.

The House passed a bill on Thursday funding the military for the next six months and keeping the government open another week, but Democratic leaders rejected the measure over its inclusion of $12 billion of additional cuts. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has accused Democrats of hurting troops, but West said in a statement to CBS on Thursday that he was "disgusted at the perception that Leaders in my own Party...are now using the men and women in uniform" even as he voted for the measure himself.

"The House Majority has now placed the funding for the Department of Defense and the funding for the troops down as a bargaining chip," West said. "In the last 100 days, the House Majority could have passed at any point in time a separate stand alone Appropriations for the Department of Defense and the funding for our men and women in uniform."

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has insisted over and over again that his party is not going to shut the government down over social issues. But Democrats maintain that funding for Planned Parenthood and other provisions targeting abortion are the prime sticking point -- and their message appears to be taking hold, even among some key GOP lawmakers.

A growing number of pro-life Republicans and conservative activists are publicly pressuring Boehner to drop the issue. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), known as one of the toughest social conservatives in Congress, told MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on April 6 that they were unrealistic demands.

"My recommendation to my friends in the House is, you know, it's highly unlikely many riders are going to get passed with a Democrat president and Democrat Senate, so why don't you take the spending and let's get on to the budget," he said.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) another pro-life conservative echoed his call on MSNBC Thursday, saying the GOP should "move on."

"I'd like to defund Planned Parenthood, but I understand that Republicans don't have complete control of the elected government," Toomey said. "I think what we should do is cut spending as much as we can, get the policy changes that we can, but move on, because there are other, bigger battles that we are fighting."

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In a sign of the weak state of the Republican presidential field, a Fox News poll released this week finds that nearly two-thirds of registered voters nationwide are not impressed with the potential GOP presidential nominees.

In the poll, 65% of respondents said they were to some degree unimpressed with the Republicans who have made noise about possible White House bids, including 38% who said they were "not at all impressed" with the GOP field. At the same time, only 31% said they were "very" or "somewhat" impressed with the GOP field.

Only 5% of registered voters said they were very impressed with the potential GOP presidential candidates.

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A Republican freshman member of the House says that riders on the continuing resolution bill -- like the one that bans funding for Planned Parenthood -- could make up for the fact that the GOP didn't cut a full $100 billion from President Barack Obama's budget proposal.

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) told TPM that the showdown is over two things: "keeping our promises to the people that elected us to cut spending and implement some policy changes."

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A bit more info on the current impasse in negotiations to prevent a government shutdown.

A Senate source explains why numbers have changed in recent hours -- and it has to do with riders. Yesterday evening, Senate Dems were holding firm at cutting spending by $34.5 billion. Republicans wanted something closer to $39 billion. Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) acknowledged, in a roundabout way, that the new consensus figure was $38 billion, and aides have since confirmed that number.

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Both sides of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race are gathering lawyers together for the potential recount and litigation over the race -- with some familiar names from a certain other recount that took place in the Midwest.

The Capital Times reports:

Kloppenburg's campaign is working with Marc Elias, an attorney with Perkins Coie, a Washington D.C.-based firm with an office in downtown Madison. Elias is the same attorney who represented Democratic challenger Al Franken in his eight-month epic recount battle with incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. Franken eventually prevailed, winning his U.S. Senate seat by 312 votes.

Prosser has hired Ben Ginsberg, a Washington-D.C. attorney who played a prominent role in the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential recount effort in Florida. He was also part of the team that represented Coleman in his recount effort. Prosser has also retained Madison attorney Jim Troupis, and Dan Kelly, who is based in Milwaukee.

In an ironic role reversal, this election could now turn on the question of thousands of newly-tabulated votes for Prosser that were discovered in the canvass of heavily Republican Waukesha County's precincts -- an idea that Republican and most of the media treated very skeptically when a small fraction of that amount were found in Al Franken's favor in 2008.

1||April 8, 2011: Donald Trump, the eccentric real estate mogul turned reality television show host, has had a long, colorful career. Now, as he mulls a potential presidential bid, TPM takes a look back at Trump through the years. ||Jeff Malet/

2||Trump is no newcomer to presidential politics. In 1999, he formed an exploratory committee to determine whether or not he should seek the presidency. ||str/Newscom&&

3||Trump has been married three times. Here, he's pictured with second wife Marla Maples and their daughter, Tiffany in 1997. ||CATUFFE/SIPA/Newscom&&

4||Trump married his current wife, Melania Knauss, in 2005. ||Stephen Trupp/STAR MAX, Inc./Newscom&&

5||Trump owns the rights to the Miss Universe pageant. In 2002 he crowned Miss Universe Justine Pasek, from Panama. ||EZIO PETERSEN/Newscom&&

6||Trump is now perhaps best known as the host of the reality TV series, "The Apprentice," launched in 2003. Here, he debuts a board game based on the show, "Trump the Game." ||LAURA CAVANAUGH/UPI/Newscom&&

7||Trump, with characters at Universal Studios, for a casting call for the sixth season of "The Apprentice." ||Lionel Hahn/ABACA/Newscom&&

8||Trump has numerous properties to his name, including the famous Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. ||Brent Winebrenner/Lonely Pl/Newscom&&

9||In 1999, the Trump International Hotel and Tower was awarded a five-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide. ||JON SIMON/Newscom&&

10||Trump has also invested in casinos, including the Taj Mahal Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. ||Joe Sohm/Newscom&&

11||An aerial view of a former Trump home, a 60,000-square-foot property in Palm Beach that sold for a reported $95 million in 2008. ||p77/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

12||In 2004, Trump unveiled an action figure of himself. ||NICOLAS KHAYAT/KRT/Newscom&&

13||Trump with his first wife, Ivana Trump, at Madame Tussaud's in Times Square. They're joined by, from left, Tony Bennett, Patrick Stewart and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. ||EZIO PETERSEN/Newscom&&

14||Trump and Diddy (previously Puff Daddy), in 1999. ||str/Newscom&&

15||In 2004, Trump attended the launch party for Wyclef Jean's new album. ||Jeff Geller/Splash News/Newscom&&

16||In 2001, Trump met with then Secretary General of the U.N. Kofi Annan to discuss Trump's latest real estate development, an office and apartment building constructed near the U.N. The two met to discuss neighborhood residents' concerns that the building was out of place in the area. ||EZIO PETERSEN/Newscom&&

17||In 2004, Trump rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with NASCAR champion Kurt Busch. ||EZIO PETERSEN/UPI/Newscom&&


19||Trump, with then-wife Marla, and daughter Ivanka at his 50th birthday bash in 1996. ||Ezio Petersen/Newscom&&

20||In 1999, Trump promoted aspiring magician David Blaine's trick, in which Blaine buried himself alive on a waterfront property owned by Trump. ||Ezio Petersen/Newscom&&

21||In 2008, Trump prompted another one of Blaine's stunts, when the magician hung himself upside down over Wollman Rink in New York CIty for 60 hours. ||David Shankbone/wikimedia&&

22||In 2007, Trump's work on "The Apprentice" earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. ||Neelix/wikimedia&&

23||This photo from 1988 shows the Ruby Room, a guest room on Trump's yacht, the Trump Princess. ||r78/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

24||||Les Stone/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

25||Donald Trump, making his signature, "You're Fired" gesture in January, 2011. ||Darla Khazei, PacificCoastNews/Newscom&&

26||A gold sink and monogrammed towel in the maser bathroom of Trump's boat, the Trump Princess. ||r78/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

27||In 1999, Trump appeared in a commercial for Pizza Hut's Big New Yorker pizza. ||Feature Photo Service/Newscom&&

28||In 1997, Trump launched his own magazine, Trump Style. ||h/o/Newscom&&

29||Trump's second wife, Marla Maples, at a fashion show in 1997. ||Hayden Roger Celestin/Newscom&&

On Thursday night, Stephen Colbert sought to sate Muslim anger over Florida pastor Terry Jones' trial and subsequent burning of a Quran, an act that sparked deadly protests in Afganistan.

To do so, Colbert first announced that he was converting to Islam -- part of his ongoing series in religion swaps since he decided to give up Catholicism for Lent.

"I am not an extremist folks, I am a moderate Muslim," Colbert said. He then looked down at his hands and shouted in shock, "Oh my God! We do exist!"

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Incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who came from behind in the vote count Thursday after the Republican stronghold of Waukesha County announced that a data-entry error had resulted in the omission of a whole town and its over 7,000 net votes for Prosser, appeared Thursday night on Fox News with Wisconsin native Greta Van Susteren.

At one point, Van Susteren asked Prosser whether he had called his liberal-backed opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg, who had declared victory on Wednesday, at any time since election day.

"I have not spoken to my opponent. It's not at all anything personal," said Prosser. "It's simply I thought, I'm not conceding, and I'm not congratulating, and I'm not claiming victory. We're simply waiting out the process."

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has laid a final offer at Republicans' feet, and it will require them to drop their insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood, and accepting what Reid insists is an agreed upon level of spending cuts. If Republicans don't take it, and if Reid's not bluffing, the government will shutdown.

"The number we're not bending on," he told reporters in a press briefing Friday morning. "We're not bending on that and we're not bending on women's health."

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